After the Fine Weather by Michael Gilbert

After the fine weather3

The title of this spy mystery book sets the scene; after the fine weather comes the snow. Set in Lienz in the Austrian Tyrol the onset of bad weather coincides with an alarming sequence of events. Bald Kommt der Schnee:

In Lienz we call this Bellermanswoch. The Bellerman is the old man who goes round after the feast is over, cleaning up the tables and snuffing the candles. … But when the Bellerman has finished his work, when he has extinguished the last candle, the snow will come.

Laura Hart travels to Lienz to stay with her brother who is the British Vice-Consul there. On the train there she meets an American who warns her of the growing political tension in the area, with a group of Nazis, blowing up pylons and railways causing trouble between the Germans, Austrians and Italians.

When she witnesses a political murder and insists that the Italian arrested for the shooting is innocent she becomes involved in a dangerous game. Helped by the American and a Secret Service agent she attempts to leave the Tyrol.  I did find the politics quite confusing in this book, knowing next to nothing about it and the episode at the end involving what I took to be a variation of the Abominable Snowman was far-fetched. However, the book as a whole is fast-paced with lots of action and would probably make a good film – if it hasn’t done so already.

This book completes my reading in the What’s In a Name Challenge in the “Weather” category.

4 thoughts on “After the Fine Weather by Michael Gilbert”

  1. I’ve read his name just lately (Martin Edwards’ blog??) and I’ll look into his work. Are all his books spy books, do you know? Do you read any Alan Furst? Tom has read a couple and liked them. I’ve read great things about the writer. I like spy stuff, and would like to read some work by some of the older writers, like Helen MacInnis. Any suggestions?

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  2. Nan, according to Wikipedia, Michael Gilbert was a British lawyer who wrote police procedurals, spy novels and short stories, courtroom dramas, classical mysteries, adventure thrillers, crime novels, and almost every possible combination of these. Martin Edwards commented on a previous post that Michael Gilbert is one of his favourite authors – his most famous is probably ‘Smallbone Deceased’, so maybe he’s written about him on his blog. I think I’ll try some of Gilbert’s other books and it looks as though I’d like Martin Edwards’ books too.
    I haven’t read many spy books or any books by Alan Furst or Helen MacInnis.

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  3. Among his many other achievements, Michael Gilbert wrote some of the finest short stories with an espionage theme ever published. His Calder and Behrens stories are great – try Game Without Rules. Among his thrillers, Sky High is good and of his whodunits, The Night of the Twelfth is excellent. For legal mysteries, apart from Smallbone Deceased, Death Has Deep Roots and The Queen v Karl Mullen are terrific. Death in Captivity is a very good POW mystery.

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